Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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TV: USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes reports that the NFL's TV negotiations "will run slower this year." The October 1 exclusivity deadline for talking to current broadcast carriers "will be pushed back" to November 1. Forbes: "The new deal won't be firmed up until after the Super Bowl" (USA TODAY, 9/18)....Mike Keenan "has had talks with ESPN and Fox Sports about becoming a hockey commentator this season" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/17)....Ed Pinckney will serve as an in-studio host for UPN-33's Heat road TV broadcasts, as well as a radio analyst on WIOD for home games (Heat). PRINT: SI will publish "The Boston Collection: The Best Boston Sports Stories from The Pages of Sports Illustrated," the first in a series of city-specific special issues. The 164-page issue will hit Boston newsstands on October 6, and will have a cover price of $5.95. Ford Division/New England is the exclusive advertiser of the issue which features Ted Williams on the cover. Chicago will be the next issue (SI).
"Steel Chariots," a film on NASCAR racing, premieres Tuesday, September 23, at 8:00pm ET/PT. "Steel Chariots" features cameos by NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. NASCAR announcers Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons play themselves in the film (NASCAR). MORE THAN A MOVIE? The production was profiled by John Nagy of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. Nagy: "These days, everyone seems to want a piece of NASCAR, and Hollywood is no different. But the relationship NASCAR and Hollywood had on 'Steel Chariots' illustrates just how greatly NASCAR's power has grown over the last few years." NASCAR VP/Marketing and Development Ken Clapp, on the pilot episode of "Steel Chariots:" "We left the ending so we could carry on." Clapp represented NASCAR and "was in on every aspect of the movie's production," as producers "agreed to his script changes and reshot scenes he didn't like." Nagy: "The final cut of 'Steel Chariots,' while no great cinematic achievement, might just be the best representative film work ever done on NASCAR. ... Lest you think this film too 'inside racin',' it also includes numerous 'Baywatch' touches like beautiful women." Nagy adds that the idea of a TV series "excites NASCAR like few other things." Clapp: "We're ready to go with 13 episodes if we get the ratings." Nagy: "But while NASCAR had control with the pilot, a series might find NASCAR losing out to ratings-hungry studio executives" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 9/17).
The Rockies asked a Denver District Court judge "to temporarily stop" local Web publisher Robert Lewis from producing his baseball Web page, arguing that it "infringes" on the team's trademarks and "confuses Internet users," according to Leyla Kokmen of the DENVER POST. Lewis publishes a CO Tourism & Sport site at www.rockies.com, which links to www.blakestreet.com, his "Colorado Baseball Daily" page. Rockies attorney Tom Kelley: "We want to prevent Mr. Lewis and his company from using the Rockies' trademark -- Rockies and Colorado Rockies -- to identify himself and his product." Lewis' attorneys argue that he "has made changes" to his online site, including "adding disclaimers, dropping use of the Rockies' logo and colors, changing the name from The Daily Rockies' Web to Colorado Baseball Daily, and removing the newsletter from rockies.com, although the sites are still linked." But Kelley said that Internet users "still associate rockies.com with Lewis' baseball site." The team does not currently have a Web site, but it "expect[s] to launch one by the end of October." A December trial is set (DENVER POST, 9/18). NEW TENNIS NET: The Corel WTA Tour unveiled its redesigned site at www.corelwtatour.com. The site, rebuilt with MD-based American Cities Studios, features new player audio and video interviews and features, up-to-date tournament results, press conference transcripts, player action photos, an educational section geared towards youngsters, interactive games and a ticker with up-to-date Tour news, among other features. Future plans include a shopping mall area, full motion video, real-time scores and multilingual sections (Corel WTA Tour). ON ICE: NHL ICE celebrates its one-year anniversary on October 4, and for the coming season, following every game, NHL.com will produce a 90-second video highlight of that game. NHL ICE also plans to introduce the NHL/IBM Real Time Scoring System -- the NHL's first program for electronically tabulating on-ice activity during a hockey game (NHL ICE). DEVIL OF A SITE? The Devil Rays launched www.devilray. com, developed by FL-based WebLink Communications. The team is using "www.devilray.com" because "www.devilrays.com" was claimed by FL businessman Joe Rossetto for $100. Rossetto "offered to sell the address for what [team general counsel John] Higgins said was $50,000." The team declined and Higgins said, "Basically, we weren't going to pay 50 grand for an s" (Marc Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES, 9/16).